WhatsApp is among the world’s popular instant messaging platforms. Launched in 2009 and later bought by Facebook in 2014 for $19bn, the platform is rich in features due to the regular feature updates. To get the most of WhatsApp, you’ll want to know its latest features – some of the hidden – that make its usage worthwhile.
Here are the 12 most hidden WhatsApp features you should try today!
12 Hidden WhatsApp Features
1. Self-destructing Temporary Messages
Did you know that you can send temporary messages on WhatsApp? WhatsApp added ephemeral messages in 2020. Using the feature, WhatsApp users can send messages that will expire seven days after they’re sent – independent of whether the recipient reads the message or not.
This can be a handy feature when sharing personal information via the platform. While WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, it doesn’t hurt to send extra private messages to your friends or family that last for a few days.
You can send self-destructing messages, open a personal chat, tap the contact’s name at the top > Disappearing messages > On.
2. Pin Favorite Chats
This is another handy WhatsApp feature. You can pin your favorite chat on top, so you don’t have to scroll down every time other people get noisy. There’s a limitation to this, though; you can only pin up to three chats – either groups or one-on-one chats.
Tap and hold a chat you wish to pin and click the “pin” icon on top.
3. Personalized notifications
If you’re close friends or friend(s) you regularly interact with, WhatsApp allows you to custom tones. This way, you’ll tell who’s pinged you without having to check. Additionally, if you communicate with your employer or customers on WhatsApp, this is also a great way to keep track of new messages.
Navigate to a contact you wish to set a personalized tone, tap the contact’s name and select “Custom notifications.” Tick the “Use custom notifications” checkbox, then set the tones. For critical business contacts, you can also check the “Use high priority notifications” that prioritize their updates at the top of the screen.
4. Listen to audio before sending
We’ve all been there; you record audio, then once you release the microphone icon, the message is sent directly. WhatsApp is created to work this way. But this is not okay for everyone.
Fortunately, you can listen to your voice recording before sending the message in WhatsApp. It’s not an official feature; it’s just a handy trick that should give you room to review your WhatsApp audio before they’re sent.
Once you want to stop recording audio, don’t release the microphone icon just yet. Instead, leave the app while holding the record button. When you re-enter WhatsApp, you’ll find a draft of your recording waiting for you to review.
5. Mark a chat as “Unread.”
If you enter a chat accidentally, WhatsApp allows you to mark the message as “unread.” You can do this: Tap and hold a chat thread, then select the three-dot menu at the top. Select “Mark as Unread” from the pop-up menu. WhatsApp will mark the message as unread.
6. Lock your app
WhatsApp added more security to its app not long ago, allowing users to use biometric authentication to secure their chats. On iPhone, the feature works with TouchID or FaceID. For Android, the only option is to use your fingerprint reader.
How to use Touch ID or Face ID for WhatsApp
First, Enable Touch ID or Face ID in your Settings app if you haven’t already.
Now, open WhatsApp Settings.
Then, tap Account > Privacy > Screen Lock.
Turn on Require Touch ID or Require Face ID, then select WhatsApp should take before prompting you to re-authenticate again.
For iPhone, you can also use your iPhone passcode if Touch or Face ID fails.
How to set up fingerprint lock on WhatsApp Android
On Android, tap the three-dot menu on the top right, select Settings > Account > Privacy > Fingerprint lock. Confirm your fingerprint when prompted, then select the time WhatsApp takes before automatically locking you out.
7. Hide Received Photos and Videos
WhatsApp can gobble up much of your storage if you save every received photo and video on your device. This can be problematic for users with low memory devices. WhatsApp, however, allows you to take control over your photos and videos received.
You can choose not to save received media files in your storage. To use this feature, go to a chat that sends you lots of media files and tap the name: select Media visibility and select No from the pop-up.
Additionally, if you use limited data, you can control what is automatically downloaded by WhatsApp. Go to your app’s settings > Storage and media. Under Media auto-download, tap When using mobile data > select the what you want automatically downloaded.
8. Know what time the recipient read a message
If you wish to know when the recipient read your message, WhatsApp allows you to see this information via a hidden feature. Tap and hold a sent message, select the three-dot menu on the top right, and tap Info. On iPhone, press the message, then slide your finger to the left to check the time.
9. Keep track of important messages
WhatsApp has evolved to become a tool used by businesses and even schools for communication. Since most of us only hold a single WhatsApp account, it can be hard to track everything important we receive via the platform. WhatsApp’s star message feature can help with this.
To star a message, tap and hold to show the top menu, then tap the star icon. You can access starred messages easily inside WhatsApp. Once you open WhatsApp, tap the three-dot menu > Starred messages.
WhatsApp will show all your starred messages on a single page along with essential data like when the message was received and from whom.
10. Change text format
WhatsApp has a couple of hidden tricks that allow you to format your text. Instead of sending simple text default on the platform, you can bold, italicize, change the font, among other things. To bold text in WhatsApp, add *(Asterik) before and after. For example *this is bold*. You can italicize text by enclosing it inside underscores(_). For instance: _italics_.
Tilde(~) helps you add a strikethrough. Example: ~sample strikethrough~
To change the font, use the backtick keyboard symbol(`). This will change to Monospace font, which is built inside WhatsApp. Enter three backticks before and after the text and hit send. Example: ` ` `hello` ` `
11. Set custom backgrounds
In WhatsApp, you can use a custom background across all chats through Settings > Chats > Wallpaper. However, you can set custom backgrounds for individual contacts as well. For this, tap the three-dot icon while inside a conversation thread, then select Wallpapers. Tap Change and choose a wallpaper of the pre-made options of one from photos stored on your device.